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Monthly Archives: March 2014

Ten +1 Questions with Author Marshall Best

MarshallAuthor Marshall Best is a loving father who will put in his own words below what got him to start writing. The image we have of him shows he is also quite the fisherman as I “borrowed” that from his author profile on Smashwords. The things I’d write to introduce the author are best left to his own words. His answers are just below and you will find out about Marshall and what brought him to write the story about the young Roman boy, Guiamo.

 

 

Question 1:  What inspired you to write Guiamo?

Like many other authors, I began writing fiction stories to entertain my children.  My first stories began as bedtime stories for my daughter Meredith when she was six.  I decided to write them down and they became The Princess Meredith Bedtime Tales which are available as an e-book collection.  I then decided to write stories for each of my other children.  I started with a story for my son William with the main character fashioned after him.  I have two other story lines for my daughter Cecily and son Elliot but they will have to wait since Guiamo has turned into a nine book series.

Question 2: Is there any significance to the name/names of your main characters?

One Summer, our family took a missionary who was visiting town out for pizza.  He talked about another form of William that sounded like Guiamo.  When I started writing the story for William, I decided it would be fun to use that form of his name for the main character.  Later we discovered we were off with the spelling, but that’s the origin of the name. 

Many of the other characters in the series are people from myths and legends.  When we did a recent book tour and my wife was researching more of the books for the tour, she was amazed how many of the characters had stepped right out of history.  Characters like Julius Caesar are recognized of course, but others like Eochaid, Sreng, and Nuada are also an integral part of ancient history.  Groups involved in the series such as the Fir Bolg, Fomori, Pritana and Cruthin, or Tuatha De Danaan are historical groups that were involved in ancient Ireland and Britain.

Question 3: During the writing process did you find yourself thinking about any of your own memories?

Yes, one of the things I like to do is to write real life into the story.  I love to make my characters “real” people.  Many of these instances reflect memories I have of myself and my family or friends.  Instances such as Guiamo’s friend Ursius fainting at his wedding.  My characters are human and face many of the same things we do each day.

Question 4: What were some of your favorite books growing up?

I have always been a prolific reader, and found that real life stories of men like Daniel Boone and Francis “the Swamp Fox” Marion of the Revolutionary War were wonderful adventures that stirred my young imagination. 

Question 5: Do you hear from fans of the book, and if you do what do they say?

Some of the earliest readers of the books are friends of my sons who read them before they were published.  Although the books were not written for kids, they are “kid safe.”  My sons have a buddy (he’s about 12) who has read the four Guiamo books and he just goes on and on about how great they are.  He’s like a little groupie and remembers more details than I do!  He makes me smile.  It’s fun to see his enthusiasm and we get into some enthusiastic conversations. 

I don’t hear from individual readers much except from the two book tours that we have done or reviewers we have contacted to review the books.   So far, the majority of reviews have been positive.  I’ve had a few that have left me feeling like I’d been hit in the stomach, but even those make me think more critically about the stories and what can be improved. 

Probably my two favorite statements from reviews were “Wow, just wow!” and in talking about book two, Cúmóro, one reviewer states: “Forget about that cute and exuberant kid and meet an unleashed Guiamo and his wrath.”  Book one, Guiamo, sets the stage and shows the foundations of Guiamo’s teaching that leads into the rest of the series.  It’s a bit tame compared to the rest of the series.

Question 6: What was the feeling like when you saw the very first printed version of your book?

I was really excited.  After all those years, I finally got to hold it in my hands.  I have first run copies of each of the 4 books set aside and these will be put into a picture box to hang on the walls.

Question 7: Do you continue to write?

Yes, I’m half way through book five in The Chronicles of Guiamo Durmius Stolo.  My oldest son says it’s the best of them all, and he loves them intensely.  It’s possible I may write a few short stories in the near future for my two youngest.  They would be Prince Cedric and Princess Emiline Tales.  When the Guiamo stories are finished, I’ll work on stories for my other children.

Question 8: What is the message you want people to take away from the book?

Even a young child, with proper guidance and a good heart, can come to change the world in a wonderful way.

Question 9:  If you could envision a future for your main character, what would it be?

If I told you that, it would give away books five through nine!

Question 10: Who are those in the dedication of the book, and their importance to you?

I haven’t put a dedication in them yet.

The + 1 Question:  If you had any one place in the world you could travel to for a book tour, where would that place be, and why?

I would love to travel to England and Ireland and be able to visit the historical places woven into my story.  It would also be a wonderful way to connect with readers whose history is an integral part of my story.

 

Here is where you can find his other books.

 

Guiamo       https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/265181

Cumoro       https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/265513

Morlanos    https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/265516

Inis Emain Ablach        https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/265519

Marshall’s Bio Page    https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/Optimus

 

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Posted by on March 30, 2014 in Interview

 

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Guiamo (The Chronicles of Guiamo Durmius Stolo) by Marshall Best

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000040_00074]The period of the Roman Empire was found to have many new inventions come to the world. The Romans were master architects and used much of their knowledge to make their empire greater. Their empire only grew through a well-disciplined army that was conscripted when Roman needed them it was an army for peace, and an army for war.

The eventual outcome of all the battles fought is that good men died. Men that were someone’s brother, uncle, best friend and many cases some young boy’s father. This will take us to the main character of authors Marshall Best’s book, Guiamo (The Chronicles of Guiamo Durmius Stolo).

The book starts with just what can happen to a young man that is orphaned by the death of his father, while at war. The unfortunate death of his mother and other family from a disease sets him to live with his uncle. A man who cares a bit more about his drink, and his wife who has no real love for the young Guiamo. So it should come as no shock he is left at the side of the road after awakening from a short nap on the back of a car. The young boy only questions what has happened to him and in a show of great will walks up to a fisherman and asks for a job. This simple request will start a live for the young boy that will lead him on many new discoveries.

This brief opening should show a potential reader of the type of character you are about to read about. The book is a taste of life of what Guiamo goes through to earn his right to be a man of Rome. A man that by the appropriate age will have created some great inventions and used a love of learning to make a nice amount of money for himself, and others. His inventions may turn up helping the fisherman and those he calls friends.  He will also learn some basic life skills as he lives with the fisherman and he grows older and a bit wiser.

The story will continue on and the reader is introduced to many great characters that immediately see the greatness in this young boy. The fisherman who gives him his first job, to the steel smith who teaches him a career and helps him earn this fortune. It’s a story with vast characters that in some way will touch Guiamo, but at the same time he touches their lives. A life that will have him travel part of the empire and meet a long lost family member.

The story not only takes the reader into the boy’s world, but a world that has been lost for centuries. You get an introduction into the lives that were lead during the period and how people lived. There are those who enjoyed the simple life, to those who lived in splendor in a proper villa. There is also a look at the perils of war and what comes of the victors, and the losers.  A view of what land ownership could bring those with influence along with how not all slave owners in the period mistreated their slaves.

Guiamo (The Chronicles of Guiamo Durmius Stolo) is a great entry into what appears to be a great series of books. The one thing that the reader will find throughout the book is how people call the boy special. As you read you get an idea of just “how” special he may be. There will be introductions to the different Gods of the era and a different religion. The most important thing is as you read the book you grow with the young man and those around him. It’s a book that engages the reader on many levels and should leave you asking, “What’s Next”.

 
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Posted by on March 25, 2014 in Reviews

 

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Ten + 1 Questions with Author Danny Adams

Danny Adams bio picture Author Danny Adams give soms great answers to my “famous”, or should I say “infamous” questions. In reading his responses he seemd to share much of the same love I had with the story of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. He is the man behind “Lest Camelot Fall“.  Readers will find that a check of his personal website he calls himself the Silver Fox.  Beyond his personal site people can find him on Facebook and Goodreads. So with further comment below are the questions and his great answers.

Question 1:  What inspired you to write Lest Camelot Fall?

I’ve been fascinated by Arthur and Camelot ever since I was a kid, and I always vaguely wondered whatever happened to the surviving Knights of the Round Table after Camelot fell. But I never got farther than wondering until I read Jack Whyte’s fantastic Chronicles of Camulod, and I found myself combing through the earliest medieval histories and stories – mostly Welsh and Cornish, written before Arthur was mixed in with later chivalry and the Grail. It turns out that those early writers were just as interested in the knights’ post-Camelot lives as me, and told tales about the survivors’ post-Camelot lives. I took some of the threads of those stories, invented a cousin for Arthur who returns (albeit too late), and the story formed itself from there until I couldn’t not write it.

Question 2: Is there any significance to the name/names of your main characters?

Some of the oldest stories give Aurelianus as the name of Arthur’s Roman family, so I gave it to Lucian, my protagonist. The others were either characters in the Arthurian stories already, or where invented, are more or less common to Late Roman Britain, at least as well as we know that period (which isn’t very well). But the underlying conflict between Roman and Celtic names — especially at the end of the book — was purposeful. The Celts were beginning to reclaim their land from their mostly-gone Roman masters by this point, before the Saxons ultimately moved in decades later, forcing them into Wales and deeper Cornwall.

 
 Question 3: During the writing process did you find yourself thinking about any of your own memories? 

I spent a lot of time thinking back to the past (and present) due to wondering what it was that intrigued me about Camelot’s story so much. The adventure aspect was part of it, though much of that came in later Arthurian tales, especially with the introduction of Lancelot. But their common thread, regardless of the era when they were written, was hope. Hope for peace, hope for something better than just a hardscrabble survival existence. So mostly what I wanted to bring to the story was that same feeling of hope. And this always brought me back to how I felt reading the stories (at any age) and what kept me linked to them over the years.

 
Question 4: What were some of your favorite books growing up? 

Besides Arthur…and British history in general…I was always enamored with anything containing an element of the fantastic. I don’t only mean fantasy, though there was plenty of that, from C.S. Lewis to Greek mythology. But by “fantastic” I mean where somebody rose up and did something extraordinary, whether it was in real history (particularly in ancient and medieval times) or fiction – Huckleberry Finn was one of my childhood heroes. (I have a family who supported and encouraged reading, so even as a kid, Mark Twain was a familiar companion.)

Magic, adventure, quests, where somebody did what was right and necessary no matter how difficult, and any story where the friends or family knew they could count on each other no matter what – those were my favorite books growing up, and to a large extent they still are.

 

Question 5: Do you hear from fans of the book, and if you do what do they say?

I’ve started getting a small but steady stream of people telling me what they liked about it. Overwhelmingly they tend to enjoy the characters, especially their interactions; my take on familiar icons like Merlin (although some of that I can’t claim credit for – as I mentioned above, I pulled many of the old stories into the book); and what one reader called lush period detail. And those are the three things I always enjoy the most in any historical novel that I read, so I’ve been endlessly pleased about fans enjoying them in Camelot as well.

 
Question 6: What was the feeling like when you saw the very first printed version of your book?  

Honestly…shock. I’d been working with the book one way or another for a long time – research, writing, editing, more editing, still more editing. Then when I saw it as a real published book for the first time, I suddenly realized with an equal mix of pride and terror that the book was finished, out there…and I could no longer work on it. At all. It was well and truly Done. I love seeing it out and about in the world, but I’m still getting used to the fact that I can’t so much as tweak it anymore!

 
Question 7: Do you continue to write?

 

Oh, yes. Right now I’m working on a straight-up historical series about Arizona, following the generations of several families from the end of the Ice Age to the present day. I have family and other personal connections with Arizona and had wanted to write about it since my first trip out there at age 16. I fell in love with the place then, I still love it, and would likely be living out there if not for my family being where I am now (Virginia).

I write the occasional fantasy or science fiction poem. I’ve got one coming up in Asimov’s Science Fiction magazine soon called “Picnic at the Trinity Test Site”.

And I imagine there will also be a sequel to Lest Camelot Fall if it continues selling well. I’ve already had people tell me they’re eager to know what happens to Lucian next.

Question 8: What is the message you want people to take away from the book? 

 

The period I’m writing about is still colloquially known as “the Dark Ages” (though most historians nowadays hate that term). The truth is, they weren’t always so dark as we think – a lot of interesting and exciting stuff went on in those times, and they included people who were willing to fight if they must, but would just as soon settle down to have families, build, farm, and write. Who were hoping to leave life better than they found it. This is a universal message that runs through Lest Camelot Fall: Whatever else is going on around you, whatever you have to go through to get there, hope and the need to create are some of the most powerful forces we possess.
Question 9: If you could envision a future for your main character, what would it be?

The problem isn’t if I can; it’s how many potential futures I can envision for him. By the end of Lest Camelot Fall, Lucian has all but offered a new rebirth and re-purposing to the Knights of the Round Table – so where would he go from there? There are a myriad of possibilities, limited only by history, and even that grants a wide swath of paths. But one way or another, he’s devoted his life to fighting for peace and civilization in that unsettled age between “Britannia” and “England”, and will be leading that charge from here on.

Question 10: Who are those in the dedication of the book, and their importance to you?   

 

Lest Camelot Fall is dedicated to a group of friends – most of whom still are friends two decades later – I met at Roanoke College in 1990. Without going into a lot of boring detail, my life had gotten rather off-track from where I wanted it to be, I was looking for a new start…then I met these folks, the first time in years I’d encountered a group who accepted me for exactly who I was. It did turn out to be a new beginning for me, and a major turn in the direction of my life for the better. That’s another main theme running through Lest Camelot Fall, so the dedication seemed appropriate.

 
The + 1 Question:  If you had any one place in the world you could travel to for a book tour, where would that place be, and why? 

 

Southwest and central England, where the majority of Lest Camelot Fall takes place. I would love to take the book – one way or another – to the places in the book.

 

 
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Posted by on March 21, 2014 in Interview

 

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Lest Camelot Fall by author Danny Adams

CamelotCamelot is a word that brings many things to the mind. To some it is a reference to an American political family that had a “fairy tale” type of stigma attached to them. Others it brings up the thought of a round table, knights, and most important King Arthur.

The book Lest Camelot Fall by author Danny Adams will take the reader into that world of knights, the round table, and the fabled Camelot.  The reader will be introduced to some of the Knights of the Round Table at the sad end of King Arthur’s last battle on the fields of Camlann. It is here that the book will open as one of those knights, Sir Lucian, returns to Camelot to witness the death from the battle.

Lucian had headed to Camelot leaving his men in the North behind to come to the call that Merlin had sent in his letter. It saw Lucian arrive to find the carnage of a battle that we find out later in the book could have been diverted. It’s in this book that we are allowed to dig deep into the events that helped this waste of life happen. At the same time we see that these same terrible events at the beginning of the book could be repeated.

The book follows Lucian and his interactions with Merlin and the remaining Knights. These men all witness Constantine; become King of Dumnonia and Camelot. A man who has some dark sides to him and there is bad blood between the brothers, Lucian and Constantine. This blood will lead to even more turmoil for those centered within the pages.

The book will show how brother can turn on brother, and how allegiances can be born and broken due to a man’s hubris.  It’s a story that will show how men will go to lengths to safe what Camelot was, and to reclaim its glory. During the period of the book there is also another group who want to reclaim their glory and that is a new Roman Empire. An empire that has come back from near destruction and is now again moving to reclaim its lost lands.

The book is full of characters that people will recognize from the fables of King Author. There are the Knights such as Lancelot and the magician Merlin. Morgan of the Fey is also featured within the book as well as Arthur’s wife and Lancelot’s lover, Guinevere.

Author Danny Adams does a great job in weaving together a story around the myths and period of Camelot. The book uses that ancient castle as its main backdrop to tie together a story full of intrigue that will take the reader on a story as vast as the British Isles themselves. Lest Camelot Fall, is a story that fans of the era and fans of alternate history will enjoy.

 
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Posted by on March 17, 2014 in Reviews

 

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Divergent by Veronica Roth

DivergentIn my opinion there are a lot of books that are put into the category of Young Adult in a bookstore that do not belong there. They have themes that are more adult and have a main character that would have an adult struggling to make the right choice. The main reason many are there are due to the fact that there main character is a younger character.

The book Divergent, by Veronica Roth, is just one of those books. The book has become popular and has a large cult following that has led to a movie to be made based on the book.  It is due to one of the trailers that I picked up the book and gave it a read. Yes, there are those who will draw parallels to another popular set of books that had readers “hunting” for them, and they just “caught fire” and took off.

The parallels are somewhat obvious, if you look for them, but this type of plot has been done in other books. So people need to go into each book with an open mind and allow the setting the author is painting through their words take shape.  This is what Veronica Roth does so well when introducing the reader to a world set in the future using the city of Chicago as its backdrop.

It’s a world where there are 5 major factions that live within the city and each faction has their own purpose.  As the children of each faction age they get a test preformed to help them choose how the rest of their life will go. During this testing process the books heroine, Beatrice Prior, finds out she is special. The instructor even will go as far as to hide her test results as the results show her as divergent.

Beatrice must hide those results from all she loves and will have to make her choice on choosing day of which fraction she will belong to.  Will she remain with the selfless Abnegation? Join the peaceful Amity or the honest people in Candor.  She could go on and join the Erudite and use her knowledge or face her fears and be Dauntless.  The problem she faces is her choice will not just impact her life, but those of her family if she leaves the Abnegation.

This is where the book takes off, and goes away from some of those parallels I had mentioned earlier. Beatrice is given a choice on what she wishes to do with her life. As we know, our choice in life is ours to live, and what it brings is not always easy.  This is an understatement as Beatrice will find as her new faction has some special tests and things in mind for her. As well as what happens to her after that initial choice, something is happening behind the scenes. Someone, some group, is not happy with the current leadership of the city.  They have plans and are working forward to move them forward and possibly bring the city back to the chaos that was before.

Veronica Roth does a great job of setting up the world, and introducing us to the different factions. She helps get you into the characters and makes you care for them, and loathe others. It is a great first installment in her three book series and sets things up for what is to follow. If those making the movie are able to capture much of what Roth does in her book it should be a success.  Either way this is a book that will keep someone of all ages entertained and not just the young adult reader. It should be noted that there is violence in this book so those younger readers should be aware.

 
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Posted by on March 13, 2014 in Reviews

 

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